The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) Chief of the Nationwide Inter-Branch Security Monitoring unleashed a blistering denunciation of Local Government Units (LGU) in Bohol and the Philippine National Police (PNP) for blatantly tolerating the widespread operation of the illegal numbers game to the detriment of the health and social welfare programs of the agency.
In an exclusive interview over DYRD “Inyong Alagad” on September 28, 2018, Retired Philippine Marine Major Manuel N. Fraginal Sr. singled out the alleged brazen illegal operations of Globaltech Mobile Online Corporation (Globaltech) running the “Peryahan ng Bayan” in18 municipalities in Bohol raking in millions of pesos a day with their winning prize of PhP500.00 per one peso bet.
A list of LGU’s with existing illegal betting stations was furnished to the Chronicle by Fraginal right after the radio interview included seven towns belonging to the 1st district – Alburquerque, Baclayon, Catigbig-an, Corella, Cortes, Panglao, and Sikatuna.
In the 2nd district, the PCSO identified the towns of Bien Unido, Garcia-Hernandez, San Isidro, Presiden Carlos P. Gacia, and Talibon allegedly tolerating illegal gambling while in the 3rd district, Bilar, Carmen, Dimiao, Jagna, Lila and Sierra Bullones were also named in the list.
The location of a number of “Peryahan ng Bayan” betting stations drew the ire of Fraginal after an ocular inspection around the province were conspicuously located along major roads and public places in the province right under the very noses of LGU officials and the PNP.
“We have collated all our findings in a database and has submitted the names of the mayors and police officers to the Office of the President whom we believe are lining their pockets with the illegal profits from these “Peryahan ng Bayan” operations,” according to Fraginal.
Fraginal, a decorated former marine, and navy officer revealed that the debilitating effect of the illegal numbers game racket has affected the revenues generated by PCSO lotteries to fund its Individual Medical Assistance Program (IMAP) in Bohol.
“These LGU’s apparently allowed the operation of illegal betting stations in their jurisdictions with the police turning a blind eye in complete disregard of Executive Order (EO) No. 13 issued by President Rodrigo Duterte on February 2, 2017, and Republic Act 9287 increasing the penalties for the illegal numbers game,” according to Fraginal.
LGU’s are mandated to support the PCSO STL thru their Authorized Agent Corporation (AAC) to help raise revenues for the government.
Scorpio Games and Amusement Incorporated, the PCSO AAC is the only entity authorized to conduct and operate STL in Bohol, according to Fraginal.
Fraginal reminded the Boholanos that the PCSO thru the efforts of Governor Edgar Chatto and 1st District Board Member Ricky Masamayor, the LGU’s has greatly benefitted from the proceeds of lotteries under the PCSO.
“LGU officials and police officers who tolerate and benefit from these illegal numbers game are depriving Boholanos of the benefits of the PCSO since instead of receiving a share of the proceeds, illegal operators pocket the lions share for their selfish interests.”
Mayors who responded to calls from the Chronicle admitted the existence of the “Peryahan ng Bayan” reasoning that they believed that these were legal gambling operators while others implied that there were “powerful persons” behind the continued operations of the illegal numbers game in Bohol.
However, Panglao Mayor Pedro Fuertes informed the Chronicle upon learning that the LGU was mentioned by Fraginal as one of the towns that were on the list of the PCSO immediately issued a directive to the Panglao Police Station to require all outlets to secure a certification from the PCSO.
Outlets who will fail to comply will go through closure proceedings, according to Fuertes, while Jagna Mayor Fortunato Abrenilla whose town was found allegedly tolerating the existence of illegal numbers game gave his assurance that he will conduct an investigation based on the report of the PCSO.
NO LEGAL BASIS
Fending off mounting criticisms over the PNP’s reluctance to go after “Peryahan ng Bayan” betting stalls, Bohol Provincial Police Director, Police Senior Superintendent Angeles Ginorga differed from the public’s opinion branding it as ”inaccurate and unfair.”
“We are aware of an appeal that remains unresolved in the higher court filed by Globaltech. As such we have to respect the rights of the petitioner before we make our move.”
According to Ginorga, they were advised by higher authorities to move with caution on an issue that is still in court.
However, Ginorga assured the LGU officials that any assistance to enforce the law and local ordinances will be fully supported by the PNP.
The Chronicle learned that “Peryahan ng Bayan” betting stations have no business permits and their license to operate was not renewed by the PCSO.
IN THE RED
Fraginal also disclosed that Scorpio Games and Amusement Incorporated was losing money badly due to the unabated operation of illegal betting stations in the 18 municipalities.
The Small Town Lotto (STL) was hatched to entice illegal numbers game operators to legitimize their popular and lucrative “masiao” rackets especially in the Visayas and Mindanao thru corporations that will be authorized by the PCSO to act as their AAC in the provinces,
Among the provisions of the Deed of Authority issued by the PCSO Board of Directors, an AAC applicant is required to remit a presumptive monthly retail receipt (PMRR) computed by the PCSO based on 30% of the voting population of the province multiplied by the amount of the bet, the number of daily draws multiplied by 30 days and a PhP200 million cash bond.
Scorpio’s PMRR was computed at PhP56 million a month or roughly PhP2 million a day that shall be remitted to the PCSO every month.
The required remittance of Scorpio, although based on assumptions, will rely heavily on the LGU’s approval of their operations and the police for the enforcement of anti-illegal laws to protect the AAC’s interests.
But the continued operations of the Peryahan ng Bayan betting stalls alongside the PCSO STL booths undercut their daily earnings since the winning prize of the STL is PhP400.00 compared to the PhP500.00 per one peso of the illegal operators.
According to the 2016 Revised Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) for the STL Lottery operations of the PCSO a charity fund which is 30% of net sales shall be distributed to the City/Municipality – 3.00%, Congressional District – 0.25%, Provincial Government – 0.75%, PNP Provincial Office – 0.60%, Local PNP Station – 0.60% and the Provincial CIDG – 0.10%.
A certification furnished to the Chronicle by Fraginal showed that the PCSO Board terminated the deed of authority issued to Globaltech to operate Peryahan ng Bayan on February 17, 2016, based on a “clear directive” by the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 161 denying Globaltech’s application for a writ of injunction.
The PCSO also certified that any operation of Peryahan ng Bayan is “unauthorized and illegal” according to the certification signed by PCSO General Manager, Alexander F. Balutan on September 21, 2018.
EO No. 13 mandated the PNP and other law enforcement agencies to stamp out illegal gambling which he condemned as a social menace and source of corruption.
Duterte also ordered the PNP to coordinate with the Department of Interior and Local Government and concerned agencies to “act promptly on requests of gambling regulatory authorities to investigate and put a stop to illegal activities in their respective jurisdictions.”
RA 9287 imposes the penalty of imprisonment from sixteen years and one day to twenty years for protectors or coddlers of illegal gambling or receives benefits in the operation of the illegal numbers game.
A law enforcer who fails to apprehend perpetrators of illegal numbers game will suffer an administrative penalty of suspension or dismissal, according to the law. (Chito M. Visarra)